Top Bowman Chrome Baseball Cards of All-Time
Bowman Chrome is a name that is very well-known among baseball collectors and the rookie and prospect cards are the main attraction. The brand got its start in 1997 and quickly became a top option for collecting young stars. Bowman Chrome cards have been some of the most popular recent cards in all of collecting and it is a safe bet that the next big rookie in baseball will find his Bowman Chrome cards to be hotly pursued.
While there may be some confusion regarding what constitutes a true rookie card in many modern sets, Bowman Chrome's popularity allows it to rise above that. As a simple rule, all first-year players found in the 2005 Bowman Chrome base set (and before) are given the RC designation. The cards are part of the main base set. Beginning in 2006 is where it gets tricky, as this is when base cards and prospect cards split off into separate categories.
Prospect cards are released at the beginning of a player's career and the rookie card designation is issued during the season that the player officially joins a Major League Baseball roster and is designated an RC by Topps/MLBPA. Bowman Chrome prospect cards are technically inserts and not part of the main set, even though they look that way. Ultimately, collectors dictate the value of cards. Many now prefer the first cards for a player versus his "official" rookie card, which may not come until a season or more later.
The following list attempts to cover all the glorious years that are encapsulated in Bowman Chrome. The result is the top rookie and prospect cards that are found under the Bowman Chrome name. Of course, the hottest new prospect and young stars tend to see the most attention, so the list is never really complete.
For an always up-to-date look at the top Bowman Chrome cards, view our real-time Bowman Chrome Hot List.
Top Bowman Chrome Baseball Cards
8. 2008 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospect Buster Posey #BDPP128 Autograph
Buster Posey rookie cards were not issued until 2010 but his most popular Bowman Chrome card was released in 2008. After helping lead the San Francisco Giants to the MLB title in 2010, Posey suffered a devastating injury in 2011. Despite worries about lasting effects of the injury, especially as a catcher, Buster Posey returned in 2012 and absolutely dominated. Once again, he helped lead the Giants to the title and his 2008 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects autograph card saw significant increases in value.
Top autographed parallels include Refractors (#/500), X-Fractors (#/225), Blue Refractors (#/150), Gold Refractors (#/50), Orange Refractors (#/25) and Red Refractors (#/5).
7. 2010 Bowman Chrome Autograph Stephen Strasburg RC #205
The struggling Washington Nationals needed a player to help turn around their franchise and Stephen Strasburg did not disappoint. The fire-throwing right-hander has been the Nationals' anchor. Strasburg's 2010 Bowman Chrome card #205 features a base and an autographed version.
Autographed parallels include Refractors (#/500), X-Fractors (#/225), Blue Refractors (#/150), Gold Refractors (#/50), Orange Refractors (#/25) and Red Refractors (#/5). Collectors looking for a lower-priced option will want to check out Strasburg's first Bowman Chrome card, 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects Stephen Strasburg #BCP1. There are several levels of parallels to chase, including a Superfractor parallel (1/1) that made huge waves in the hobby when it was pulled and sold.
6. 2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks Clayton Kershaw #84 Autograph
While his official rookie cards were not released until 2008, when he joined the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster, Clayton Kershaw's 2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks has proven to be one of his top cards. Now that Kershaw has established himself as an elite pitcher, it is safe to assume that this card will continue its upward trajectory.
Autographed parallels include Refractors (#/500), X-Fractors (#/225), Blue Refractors (#/150), Gold Refractors (#/50), Orange Refractors (#/25) and Red Refractors (#/5).
5. 2005 Bowman Chrome Justin Verlander RC #331 Autograph
The ace for the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros, Justin Verlander has proven to be one of the most dominant pitchers in the MLB and his name is regularly mentioned in the yearly Cy Young Award discussions.
Popular autographed parallels include Refractors (#/500), X-Fractors (#/225), Blue Refractors (#/150), Gold Refractors (#/50) and Red Refractors (#/5).
4. 2001 Bowman Chrome Ichiro RC #351 - Japanese/English Versions
The Ichiro Bowman Chrome rookie card does not feature his autograph, but it is still in high demand. Two versions of the card exist, with one being in English and the other in Japanese. They were both produced in equal numbers, so it really just boils down to preference. Collectors have also shown considerable interest in the X-Fractor and Gold Refractor (#/99) parallels. Topps made throwback reprints of these in 2011, so make sure you're picking the correct card.
3. 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autograph Bryce Harper #BCP111
There are few, if any, players who came into the league with more hype than Bryce Harper. Despite these lofty expectations, Harper quickly made his way through the minor leagues and joined the Nationals roster not long after the start of 2012 season. Although he experienced some ups and downs, he is still considered among the league's star attractions. The 2011 Bowman Chrome card has a base version and an autographed version. Both are very popular.
Top parallels for the base version include Green X-Fractors (retail only), Purple Refractors (#/799), Refractors (#/500), Blue Refractors (#/150), Gold Refractors (#/50), Orange Refractors (#/25) and Red Refractors (#/5). Popular parallels for the autographed version include Refractors (#/500), Blue Refractors (#/150), Gold Refractors (#/50), Orange Refractors (#/25) and Red Refractors (#/5).
2. 2001 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols RC #340 Autograph #/500
The Bowman Chrome rookie card for Albert Pujols is arguably the top Bowman Chrome card of all-time. Even with a print run of 500, these cards still command huge amounts. Collectors should note that these popular cards originally came as redemptions, so don't waste your time with boxes if you are hoping to pull one. Also, beware of reprints and throwbacks.
1. 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospect Autograph Mike Trout #BDPP89
Mike Trout came into the league with great expectations. However, due to his young age, it was assumed that he would take a few years to reach his potential. 2012 marked Trout's first full season in the MLB and he produced one of the greatest individual seasons in league history. Mike Trout's card values exploded and they were led by his 2009 Bowman Chrome card.
Top autographed parallels again include Refractors (#/500), X-Fractors (#/225), Blue Refractors (#/150), Gold Refractors (#/50), Orange Refractors (#/25) and Red Refractors (#/5).
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